Amusement ride experts weigh in on DeSantis comments on Disney ride inspections
ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week announced some changes the legislature is working on to give control over Disney's special district to the state. Officials said that would include inspecting rides after accidents.
"We do that across the board for amusement rides everywhere except large theme parks," said Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson at a news conference on Monday. "Where a person is injured should not determine how the state responds – everyone should have to play by the same rules."
According to current law states, rides have to be inspected by the state, unless the park has 1,000 or more full-time employees and has in-house safety inspectors. One amusement ride expert told FOX 35 News that he believes all parks should be subjected to the same inspections.
"I think it would be the best thing that could happen to the citizens and visitors to the State of Florida," said ride safety consultant Ken Martin.
Disney calls itself a leader in industry safety and has experts to vouch for the company.
"We know that Disney goes even beyond the existing ride safety standards," said Jakob Wahl, the CEO of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). "This is where we’re not sure how such a change actually would improve further the already excellent safety record of Disney."
In 2001, Disney and other companies worked out a deal with Florida for the companies themselves to report serious injuries to the state. Some feel it's problematic to let companies control reporting.
"Are they a leader, yes," Martin said. "But that’s because there’s nobody else to challenge them."
Wahl said the IAAPA has full confidence in Walt Disney World.
"Those are procedures right now being handled by Disney, and we personally know that Disney is on the forefront of safety across the world," he added.
While there are several other parks in Florida that handle their own inspections, new legislation appears to only be directed at Disney.